In which I love a good Sunday…

Yesterday was ultimately pretty productive, I wore my eye mask to bed Saturday night, so I slept until about 9. This is not classically productive, but I desperately needed sleep, so I am checking “got appropriate amount of sleep” off my list, and if I can check it off my list, it means productivity. Then I engaged it my most favorite Sunday morning activity-I watched CBS Sunday Morning.Again, it may not sound super productive, but I learn stuff, so I totally count it. Like, for instance, I learned that Wilco’s lead singer and songwriter is an oldish guy, which I didn’t expect. I also learned that they have never had a commercial hit – shame on you commercial radio. All the thinking about Wilco made me want to listen to it, which made me think of my iPod, which made me think of my kitchen, since that is where my iPod is, which makes me think of cooking, and I was thusly motivated.

I have not blogged for a week, and I am feeling some guilt about that. Last week was not a good cooking week. I made a beet carpaccio one night that I didn’t love and that didn’t photograph particularly well, though it had a ginger miso vinaigrette that I will be making again. Other than that, not so much with the cooking. But I did get THIS…

my new favorite thing...

my new favorite thing...

I am so very excited about my new kitchen table. So excited, in fact, that I ignored the very prominent instructions to wait until I had two adults to put it together. I don’t have two adults hanging around here, and patience is a virtue, but it doesn’t happen to be one of mine, so I wrestled with some heavy furniture and got it set up. No major mishaps, though I now have bruises that make me look like I have been beaten about the legs by a popsicle stick wielding garden gnome. A small price to pay for my fantastic new toy. Perfect for holding cookbooks that I am using so they don’t take up my limited counter space, and it is close to the window so it provides an excellent backdrop for using the macro function on my camera in the natural daylight (thanks for the tip, Bhavani!) I have been practicing this new method a lot, here are some of the shots…

a close up

a close up

really close up...

really close up...

pretty pretty

pretty pretty

still life with garlic

still life with garlic

The macro function gets two very enthusiastic thumbs up from me.

Anyway-yesterday. I pulled out my copy of Deborah Madison’s Local Flavorsand I have no idea why I haven’t done this before. The book is about all the delightfulness you can find at farmers’ markets, and the recipes are fantastic, and because of the lack of blogging and residual guilt, I planned several things to make this week and headed out to the store to stock up. I tried to be very good, because I have this disease that makes me buy all sorts of things that I don’t need every time I walk into a grocery store. I was pretty good yesterday and only came home with a couple of things that weren’t on the list. One of which was soba noodles. Add it to my never ending collection of Asian noodles that could feed a large family, were there ever a need to feed a large family with Asian noodles.

I also ended up with this…

come to mama

come to mama

A tartare was in order…

I love love love tuna tartare. I cut the tuna into a rough dice – rustic we’ll call it, because it sounds nicer. I also peeled, seeded and chopped half a small cucumber to toss in with it for textural purposes. I made a dressing with shiro miso (2 tsp), soy (2 tsp), mirin (1 tsp), rice vinegar (1 tsp), siracha (1 tsp) and ginger (not sure, just grated a bit right into the dressing). I juiced one not so juicy lemon over the tuna and cucumber, and sprinkled with a bit of salt and some chopped green onions, and then tossed it with the dressing. I fried up some wantons to use as a vehicle, and diced half an avocado to serve with it…Behold.

mmmmmm...

mmmmmm...

This was a fantastic little Sunday snack, though I will probably cut back a little on the siracha next time. There was definitely some residual heat, which I am not always a huge fan of, but it wasn’t too much even for me, so if you like that, keep the siracha proportions the way they are. There is some leftover, and since tuna tartare doesn’t really stick around long, I will having the leftovers for lunch today. Not a bad Monday bonus.

Also on the docket for Sunday afternoon: chicken stock. Chicken stock is one of those things I feel guilty buying because it is quite easy to make, and pretty much every chef and cookbook in the world tells you that you are a total idiot if you don’t make and freeze your own chicken stock because it is SOOOO easy, and SOOO much better than anything you can buy, so ok, fine. I figured I would make a lot because I want to make some wonton soup this week (perfect for this heat wave!) and I want to have some left over, so that the chefs and cookbook authors don’t make me feel shameful when I look into my devoid of chicken stock freezer. No more!

Everyone of those chefs and cookbook authors have their own method of making chicken stock, but I read somewhere that for a white chicken stock (one that uses raw chicken rather than bones from a cooked chicken) that chicken wings have the best bone-collagen-skin-fat-meat ratio for stock, or something. I have no idea if this is true, but chicken wings are pretty cheap and I have thus far been pleased with the results. I used about 3.5 lbs of chicken wings and my 12 qt stock pot. I filled the pot with water and the wings and brought it to a boil, and then drained the chicken wings and cleaned out the pot. This apparently gets rid of a lot of the chicken sludge that has to be skimmed off the top of a stock. The chicken goes back into the pot with water, carrots, garlic, celery and onion (in this case, green, as I thought it was a bit more asian-y.)

ready for duty.

ready for duty.

The amount of celery, green onions, garlic and carrots I added was based on the very precise measurement of what I had in the fridge yesterday, in case you are writing this down. I also added some bay leaves and whole peppercorns, and then for this particular stock, I added a couple decent sized pieces of peeled ginger and some lemongrass. I would suggest getting some stalks of lemongrass and cutting them into pieces, but my friendly neighborhood grocery didn’t have any, so I had to use the dried lemongrass that I had in my cabinet, and I didn’t have any cheesecloth to wrap it into a little bundle so I just had to dump it in. I do not recommend this method-it is going to be a pain in the a to strain this stock, but I’ll deal with that when the time comes…

mmm, stock-y

mmm, stock-y (see all that lemongrass floating around in there? blerg.)

I brought it to a boil and let it simmer for about an hour, and then I was going out, so I turned off the burner and let it cool on the stove. I refrigerated it overnight after it was cool. I will taste it today and decide if it needs some more simmering.

Tonight-finishing the stock and scallion crepes with sir fried shrimp and pea shoots. Just because. And I leave you with another gratuitous tuna tartare shot. Because I can.

scrumpty...

scrumpty...just look at all that macro-ness

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